A day after their campus was stormed by police personnel, hundreds of Jamia Millia Islamia students, many of them injured, left the hostel with suitcases in hand.
After the first round of clashes between students, locals and police on Friday, the university had declared holidays from December 16 to January 5. But many students had stayed back in the hostels — for internships, research work or to continue protests against the new citizenship law. However, after the events of Sunday evening, students began packing their suitcases, saying that they did not feel safe and would rather head home.
Students spoke of a sleepless night and endless phone calls from worried parents.
“I have never received these many calls from my parents before. They are frantically calling us back home. We could not sleep last night; we were so scared. After what happened here last night, it’s just not viable to stay here any longer,” said Laila Khan, a student at the Mass Communication and Research Centre, who was heading home to Mumbai.
During the night, rumours flew thick and fast through hostel rooms. “We all blocked our doors and windows because we were afraid that our hostel would be raided at 2-3 am. Friends who live outside the campus were calling and asking us to come stay with them for the night, but it was too unsafe for us to move around,” said Akshi, a Bachelor of Dental Surgery student from Aligarh, who was leaving the hostel on Monday morning.
Like many others who were leaving in a hurry, Akshi did not have tickets to travel back home and was first heading to a friend’s house.
Similarly, Ubaid Mazhar, a 19-year-old BSc Physics student, was leaving the hostel with friends with nowhere to go. “There are around 10-15 Kashmiris in the hostel, but we cannot go home right now because we don’t have tickets. We do not have a plan yet; we are trying to decide where to go next,” he said.
Several students also spent the night outside the campus at friends’ flats. One of them, Mohammad OS, a 22-year-old law student, returned on Monday morning to collect his books and bag. “Some people have not booked their tickets and some have tickets for tomorrow. But they will not wait in the hostel as they are not safe here,” he said.
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